Due to the “new normal” we are experiencing with the pandemic and social distancing, many companies have jumped to a remote employment model. Sadly not all of them are as prepared for this jump as it requires infrastructure and training in order to get the most benefits and maintain productivity. We hear about all the benefits of remote employment, and truth be told as one of these telecommuters I can agree it’s a game-changer for work-life balance and general happiness. But productivity? Yes. That too can be maintained, and even improved upon with some simple principles that, if followed, will guide your team towards all those benefits the internet is going on regarding “Remote Employment”.
Make the time to define your remote business policies
As a business owner, or individual responsible for building this document, this is the first step that needs to be resolved. A fully imagined and penned set of policies, procedures, tools, and expectations are an absolute must. Take the time to sit with your team leaders (and the team in general) to establish the “routine”. These can include morning “full team” stand up calls (to enforce a stable start of the work day), regular weekly team check-ins, define the Meeting Tools you plan on using (such as GoToMeeting, or Google Meet). How are you going to collaborate on spreadsheets and documents (such as Google Docs/Sheets)? There is no way to move into a successful remote employment strategy without doing the legwork and making these calls for your team.
Create your online policies with internet security practices in mind
Considering all communication has to go over the internet, we need to ensure we are keeping our intellectual property and employee data safe. To accomplish this you need to establish a company secure working policy. These generally include rules pertaining to the use of email accounts, company data storage and access, user controls, and use of a virtual private network. Essentially every action performed by one of your employees on the internet needs to be protected, so a VPN and proper access/use rules are essential. Once your company VPN and other security improvements are defined and in place, make sure your team is fully aware of how to use them!
You need an online, collaborative, task management platform
This part is a given, you need a way to assign tasks, communicate, and see-through projects and tickets that are in queue. I won’t bore you with details about “which” to use as countless other people have already provided great research. Just keep in mind that you’ll need some key components such as task management, user management, and in-task communication tools. These make up the backbone of every Project Management platform, and they all perform these functions to varying degrees. The key is to decide on one and enforce its proper use across all levels of the company.
Enforce your rules
Simple, but drastically underappreciated for most businesses. None of the policies, procedures, or tools you’ve defined on your process matter if you cannot likewise motivate your team to comply with them. As part of your policy you must define the “breakpoints” in your process. Areas in the business model that can be used to accurately and fairly define a single individual as responsible for a given action. Stay well away from generalized discipline policies as those only aid in reducing team morale. Instead, assume the best of your team, but ensure that your policies and tools have a means to provide evidence towards a given mistake so they aren’t word of mouth. The most successful employee retention and improvement policies are based on the simple premise: “Discipline in private, praise in public.”
As long-time telecommuters and a company built upon remote working principles–we’re in a pretty good place to help! If your company needs additional tools or assistance in setting up security protocols then give us a ring!